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Adaptation of the Illness Trajectory Framework to Describe the Work of Transitional Cancer Survivorship

Rachel Klimmek
Jennifer Wenzel
ONF 2012, 39(6), E499-E510 DOI: 10.1188/12.ONF.E499-E510

Purpose/Objectives: To examine and refine the Illness Trajectory Framework, and to address transitional cancer survivorship.

Data Sources: CINAHL®, PubMed, and relevant Institute of Medicine reports were searched for survivors' experiences during the year following treatment.

Data Synthesis: Using an abstraction tool, 68 articles were selected from the initial search (N > 700). Abstracted data were placed into a priori categories refined according to recommended procedures for theory derivation, followed by expert review.

Conclusions: Derivation resulted in a framework describing the work of transitional cancer survivorship, defined as survivor tasks, performed alone or with others, to carry out a plan of action for managing one or more aspects of life following primary cancer treatment. Theoretically, survivors engage in three reciprocally interactive lines of work: (a) illness-related, (b) biographical, and (c) everyday life work. Adaptation resulted in refinement of these domains and the addition of survivorship care planning under "illness-related work."

Implications for Nursing: Understanding this process of work may allow survivors and those who support them to better prepare for the post-treatment period. This adaptation provides a framework for future testing and development. Validity and utility of this framework within specific survivor populations also should be explored.

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